These cinnamony-sweet, perfectly pumpkin-y magic cookie bars are a must-make. They’re made from a combination of crunchy pecan crust, creamy, gooey coconut milk, pumpkin-spiced purée, and sweet chocolate chips. Nobody will be able to resist these crunchy bites of sweet, gooey fall dessert deliciousness.
Pumpkin Spice Magic Cookie Bars [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 3/4 cup maple syrup, divided
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature (should be the consistency of softened butter)
- 1 cup coconut flour, sifted
- 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
- A pinch of salt
- 1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup pecans, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup pure canned pumpkin purée
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper, rubbing the sides generously with coconut oil. It helps to spray the bottom of the pan before putting in the parchment paper, to secure it. Do not skip the parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat 1/4 cup of the maple syrup (reserving the rest for later) with the coconut oil until smooth and creamy. Stir in the flour, 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice (reserving the rest for later), and pinch of salt until a wet dough forms.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. This may be a little bit tough, just be patient with it. Use the palms of your hands and rinse them off every so often until the dough is pressed in.
- Bake the crust just until lightly golden brown, about 8-9 minutes. If your crust rises when it bakes, use a small spoon to press it down firmly once it's out of the oven, making sure not to cut into the crust.
- Once the crust comes out of the oven, whisk together the can of coconut milk and the remaining 1/2 cup of maple syrup in a large pot, set over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Coconut milk rises a lot when heated, so make sure you use a large pot. Once you've boiled it for 1 minute, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 13-16 minutes, stirring frequently, until you have 1 1/4 cups sauce left (see notes).
- Immediately pour 1/4 cup of the coconut milk mixture onto the crust and gently spread it out. Sprinkle the pecans on top, followed by the chocolate chips. Finally, drizzle all the remaining coconut milk mixture evenly over top, making sure you get enough down the sides.
- In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin and remaining 3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
- Drop the pumpkin in small dollops on top of the coconut milk and use a sharp knife to gently swirl it into the milk, making sure not to cut into the crust. You want to swirl the chocolate chips and pumpkin together a little bit. Gently shake the pan around to make sure the coconut milk goes through all the layers.
- Place into the oven and bake until the sides are golden brown, about 28-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then, cover with tinfoil and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, run a very sharp knife around the edge of the pan, slice into bars, and serve.
You need to make sure you end up with 1 1/4 cups milk, no more, no less. This can take varying times, depending in your stove/pot size. Try boiling 12-13 minutes, measuring and then pouring back into the pot and reducing a few more minutes if need be.